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Best Literary festivals - book and glasses

8 of the Best Literary Festivals in the UK

10 Feb 2018 by annabel

Are you looking for the best book and poetry events to attend this year? Summer is a great time for literary gatherings, but the UK hosts festivals to feed the mind throughout the year.

Here are some of the best…

1. Stoke Newington Literary Festival

When: June
This festival will be in its ninth year this year, and has been described as “unique” and “a proper London lit fest” by Irvine Welsh. For book fans living in the capital, this is the event to be at in the summer. Celebrating the rich literary history of Stoke Newington and its past residents (such as Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel Defoe and Mary Wollstonecraft) as well as other non-conformist academics that moved here in the 80s and 90s, this festival is a nod to radical thinking and the freedom of ideas.

2. Words by the Water in Keswick

When: March
A 10-day event with the most incredible scenery to inspire creativity. Taking place along the banks of Derwentwater at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake, visitors will be treated to a jam-packed schedule of readings, Q&As, meet and greets, and workshops. Featured writers include poet Terry Waite, author and Royals expert Penny Junor, and biographer Claire Tomalin.

Words by the water

3. Oxford Literary Festival

When: March
Without a doubt one of the best book festivals in the country, with the best line-up of writers, poets and TV personalities. The FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival takes place every March and features a series of fantastic interviews with the best literary minds in the UK, as well as speakers on a number of different subjects ranging from art, anthropology, history and science to film, faith or philosophy.

4. Hay Festival in Wales

When: May – June
Nicknamed “the Woodstock of the mind”, this Hay-on-Wye festival takes place in spring and brings together fiction, poetry, theology, neuroscience, music, politics and art. Events are spread across May and June and tickets are sold separately. The surrounding area also has some great B&B’s, cottage rentals and campsites for families.

5. Edinburgh International Book Festival

When: August
The Ed Book Fest is one of the biggest events of the summer and the Scottish capital lights up with amazing passion and talent. Featuring interviews and talks, expert speakers, readings, awards, live poetry writing and more. In total, there will be over 1,000 authors and more than 800 different events across the city. How about staying in a Scottish castle to make your visit even more memorable.


6. Niddfest, Yorkshire Dales

When: August
Niddfest is one of Yorkshire’s finest literary, music and nature events. Just some of the names that have appeared before include Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Indian activist and writer Satish Kumar, author and journalist Hattie Garlick, acclaimed author and Hispanist Adam Feinstein, and TV personality and gardener Christine Walkden.

7. Latitude Festival, Henham Park

When: July
For fiction and poetry fans who want a festival with a little bit of everything, Latitude is a must. It’s also family and kid-friendly, with creative activities for all ages. There are a number of stages/areas, including the Music & Film Arena, The Speakeasy for authors and poets, a Theater, a Comedy Tent, the Welcome Trust Tent for talks on humanities and social sciences, the Lavish Big Screen for filmic artworks, and crafting stations for children.

8. Borders Book Festival, Melrose, Scottish Borders

When:  June

This inspiring event, The Borders Book Festival, has been running since June 2004 when it welcomed just 400 people to the Wynd Theater in Melrose.  Today, it is a 4 day extravaganza with over 100 different events for all ages and over 25,000 visitors.  Held in the beautiful gardens of Harmony House in Melrose, you can expect to be entertained by speakers such as Vivian French, Rory Bremner, James Naughtie and Melvyn Bragg amongst many, many others.

If you’re planning on exploring the UK then be sure to include at least one of these brilliant festivals into your itinerary. If you would like some advice on accommodation options, please do get in touch with us today. 

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